Ofgem: energy squeeze to worsen
Energy suppliers will make record profits as energy costs rise to record levels.
Energy suppliers are expected to more than triple their profits as households face the highest energy bills yet, according to the industry regulator Ofgem.
The big six power suppliers will see profits rise to £110 per household within the next year, up from £30 in early 2012.
Energy bills have been rising at about 5 times the average household income since 2004, and an increasing number of households find themselves categorised as ‘in fuel poverty’.
Fuel poverty is when a households spends 10% or more of its income on its energy bills. One of the most vulnerable demographics, the over-65s, have seen their energy bills more than double in the last eight years, with many facing the choice between heating or eating.
In January, research conducted by uSwitch showed that a crisis in energy affordability with seven in ten UK households struggling to afford the cost of heating their homes.
However, energy suppliers have claimed that Ofgem figures are unreliable and dispute the claims, leading to calls from consumer groups to increase the level of transparency around supplier profits and costs.
In February this year, the UK’s largest energy supplier British Gas reported a profit rise of 11% year on year, which was followed by another of the big six, npower, which reported 25% profit rise from its UK operating division. Meanwhile E.ON posted a profit increase of £2.5bn.
Last winter, npower raised its prices by 8.8% and the cost of electricity by 9.1%. British Gas customers saw bills rise by 6%.